Greetings all, John J. Horn here.
Most authors tell you the same thing: It's hard to make a lot of money from books.
It's really hard to write a bestseller. If you're going to make enough money from writing to be a full-time writer, the most likely way you'll make it happen is by writing many books, none of which are bestsellers, but which add up to a decent income.
When you're a beginning author, you don't have that backlist of books bringing you a small but steady royalty check. That's why readers, not money, should be your goal.
I still consider myself a beginning author. My first books came out a couple of years ago, but I'm young and I have much to learn about the art of writing. And I have to build a backlist of books. That's why my number one goal is not to make money from my books, but to get them into the hands of as many readers in my target audience as possible.
This is a model that many startups and apps use. It's why venture capitalists give hundreds of millions of dollars to businesses that are losing money. First you build a customer base of people who like your product/service and use it regularly. Then you monetize your users.
There's nothing wrong with making money from the beginning as an author, and if you can do it, super! But my recommendation to any beginning author reading this is to focus more on getting brand recognition and an audience which is excited about your books, than on maximizing your royalty checks.
You also don't want to undervalue your books. Giving away everything you write for free might not be a good plan, because people generally value content based upon how much they pay for it. If you can find that happy medium of charging enough for your books to show that they're worth an investment, but also maximizing the number of readers who will pick up your book, then you're well on your way.
John J. Horn is a Christian author from Texas. Purchase his Men of Grit series from Amazon here and sign up for his newsletter at johnjhornbooks.com.